When you complain about heavy legs during pregnancy, most doctors will tell you that it is simply part of it. The reason why these difficulties appear at this stage of life. The changes that take place in the female body in connection with pregnancy. The high temperatures of summer days and long vacation trips make them worse. How is it possible to alleviate them with your own help and when is it better to see a doctor?
Look for the cause of the feeling of heavy legs in the veins
The increase in body weight and hormonal changes accompanying pregnancy disrupt the normal functioning of blood circulation. Already in its first trimester. Changes in the balance of the hormones estrogen and progesterone lead to a weakening of the vein walls. And can cause their expansion and the development of inflammation. There is an accumulation of blood in the veins. And the legs can thus be susceptible to the development of swelling already in the early stages of pregnancy.
The growing uterus then puts pressure on the veins, making the problems even worse. Another factor that has a negative impact on the veins is the increase in blood volume in the expectant. Mother’s body by 20-30% and the increase in her body weight. The pressure in the veins of the lower limbs thus gradually doubles or triples. Available data indicate that pregnancy increases the risk of varicose veins by more than 80%.
High temperatures in the surrounding air can make venous problems even worse. Because the veins expand even more under their influence. In addition, summer is the time of travel and long journeys by means of transport can be another factor. That has an adverse effect on blood circulation in the veins.
Try these tips
You don’t have to sit at home with your hands in your lap. And suffer the feeling of heavy legs because your doctor told you it’s normal. Try one of our tips and combine more to achieve an even better effect.
- Adjust your clothes and shoes : Wear looser shoes, avoid high heels. If you have a foot arch disorder, wear corrective insoles. Wear clothes made of flexible light materials, do not use tight pants and tight socks.
- Move as much as you can: Go for walks. Limit long standing and activities with high pressure on the feet, such as tennis, squash, basketball, etc. If you do them during pregnancy.
- Don’t forget to move even when traveling: During long car journeys. Stop regularly every two hours and take a short walk. If you are traveling by bus, plane or train, do simple leg exercises every half hour (circling your ankles. Moving your toes, changing your sitting position). If possible, take an occasional walk down the aisle. When staying by the sea, walk along the coast by water.
- Help yourself by adjusting your diet : Maintain a sufficient drinking regime. However, avoid consuming more caffeine. Eat foods high in fiber. Limit your salt intake.
- Avoid the hottest part of the day: Limit your exposure to the sun during the hottest part of the day. I.e. from around 11am to 4pm.
- Cool down: You can reduce the possible effect of heat on the dilation of the blood vessels of the lower limbs by placing a damp towel on your legs. At high ambient temperatures, the feet can be cooled with cold water (e.g. a shower), simultaneous massaging of the lower limbs from the foot upwards will also help.
- Sleep in the right position: When sleeping, avoid the position on the right side and on the back. The pressure of the uterus on the main veins can be reduced by the position on the left side.
- Elevate your legs when possible : During the day, try to rest with your legs supported in an elevated position.
- Try compression stockings : The development of swelling during travel can also be alleviated by wearing support stockings. Compression stockings can be purchased without a voucher in medical supplies or online. For compression stockings II. class, your doctor can write you a voucher. Voucher stockings are paid for by the health insurance company once every six months.
- Support the measures with special preparations.
For immediate relief from the feeling of heavy legs, you can use a special spray containing diosmin, menthol and panthenol . You can simply keep it at hand in your purse and apply it immediately when needed. It is an invaluable helper, especially when traveling.
For the treatment of heavy legs, it is possible to recommend the use of a medicinal product. Using one of the components of the mentioned spray, diosmin – Diozen. It belongs to the so-called venotonics, containing flavonoids, most often diosmin, and hesperidin. Although you will read in the package leaflet that the data on the use of these substances in pregnancy are limited.
The available data do not indicate any adverse effect on the course of pregnancy. Or on the health of the developing fetus. In 2015, a study was published that investigated the potential adverse effects of venotonics on pregnancy. In that almost 9,000 French women. The conclusions of the study showed that no negative effect of them on the course of pregnancy was observed. On the contrary, the results even indicate that the risk of termination of pregnancy.
And premature birth was significantly lower in women using venotonic compared to women who did not use these preparations. Therefore, the use of venotonics during pregnancy is considered safe. Most of these products are available over the counter.
When to see a doctor and what treatment is offered to pregnant women
If the above procedures do not help, the swelling does not decrease, or even worsens, it is advisable to consult a doctor for other possible solutions. Asking about swelling is part of every pregnancy checkup. If necessary, the gynecologist can decide to send you for examination to a specialized workplace.
As far as surgical treatments are concerned, varicose veins are not operated on during pregnancy. After childbirth, the finding may improve or even disappear completely. If the difficulties persist, it is advisable to consult a vascular surgeon, no earlier than 3-6 months after delivery, when the vascular findings have subsided. In any case, it is advisable to address the condition before any further pregnancy.